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The Surefire Way to Get Lasting Results from Sales Training

February 23, 2018


How often are you frustrated by what doesn't happen after sales training initiatives? Your goal was to improve performance and achieve better results, but you just didn't gain traction.


Two key components lead to these frustrations. 

  • The first is how people retain—or fail to retain information.

  • The second is the failure to reinforce what went went on during the training.


Solving for these will help you generate a greater return on future training initiatives. 


Let's take a closer look at each.


The Forgetting Curve


There are quite a few studies that dive into the specifics, but the basic summary is that:

  • Our brains only retain essential and relevant information—nothing else gets past the spam folder.

  • Whatever information the brain does retain fades quickly from memory unless it's reinforced over time.


Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German scientist who studied the rate that we forget information, created the forgetting curve. As you can see, we forget information at a very rapid rate:

  • Within 20 minutes, we forget roughly half of the initial information.

  • After a week, roughly three quarters of it is forgotten.

  • After a month, around 90% is gone.


It's important to consider that whenever you instruct people, the information you share is subject to each individual employee's own forgetting curve.


So, what can you do about it?


One-and-Done Doesn't Cut It


This information shows why the standard one-and-done training, without ongoing support, doesn't work. You can't effectively change habits with only a few days of exposure to new practices. Attempts to do so are wastes of time and money.


The only way to fight against the forgetting curve is to provide regular follow-ups that reintroduce initial learnings and support their adoption through coaching. Only through structured and strategically positioned repetition are people able to recall more of the information that's required to produce results. 


On that basis, we suggest to clients that all training programs should include a complete post-training implementation program. This is true if you're conducting internal training or an outside partner is providing the training.


A good implementation program includes ongoing monitoring and coaching from managers and outside specialists.


This helps training participants apply key learnings from the training initiative into their daily lives. The benefits are three-fold:

  1. Executives and managers are more accountable for their employee's progress, and their willingness to enact the changes that the organization has invested in.

  2. Training attendees remember more information covered during the initiative, so they're more likely to incorporate them into daily habits.

  3. A true ROI for the initial training investment can be tracked—based on changed sales behaviors and how they've led to increased results.


We often find that clients want us to take on this role of post-training implementation, and to keep them informed of their organization's progress in applying new skills.


We believe that a lasting ROI shouldn't be wishful thinking. Please contact us if you'd like more information about how we've helped businesses similar to your own.


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